My newest NSAID is worthless.  Just thought I’d be up front about that so there’s no confusion where I stand on this subject.

The podiatrist prescribed Flector Patches and provided a sample.  I am not impressed.

Flector is diclofenac on an adhesive patch.  The backing peels off so that the patch can be applied directly to the skin.  Simple enough theory, and maybe it stays in place on other body parts, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t work on the soles of the foot.  Patches on feet will slide all over the place until they scrunch up in an uncomfortable wad.  Although the sticky stuff that’s supposed to hold the patches in place doesn’t stick to skin, after the patch has slid around all cattywampus, it does an awesome job of sticking to socks.

I suppose it’s possible to try taping the things in place, but what’s the point of an adhesive patch that doesn’t adhere?

Then there’s the task of getting at the patch in the first place.  Although some might think it a good idea, my readers with RA will immediately understand the drawback.  What marketing genius decided to make this stuff impossible to access by putting it in a ziplock package?!

One can’t help but be impressed at the persistence of putting diclofenac out there so many different ways.  As Arthrotec, the pill has a stomach-protectant added (for those who can’t manage to take prilosec to prevent the stomach upset that can accompany NSAIDs). As Cambia, it’s added to water and drunk in solution.  As Voltaren, diclofenac comes in tablets taken similar to ibuprofen, mobic, or the hundred other NSAID pills.  Voltaren pills also come in an extended-release formulation (so that the drug company can charge extra money for the same drug, even though they’re manufacturing fewer pills). Voltaren Ophthalmic is available for the eyes, and there’s even Voltaren Gel for topical application.   Pennsaid is another topical form of diclofenac, as is Solaraze Gel.  This medicine really gets around.

Although the diclofenac pills are reasonably priced, that can’t be said of the topical forms of this drug.  Of the different types of diclofenac I’ve been prescribed (voltaren gel, solaraze gel, and flector patches), none are on my insurance formulary.  Yep – tier three.  These things are expensive.  Flector comes with thirty patches in a box, and I’m supposed to use four patches a day.  That 30-patch box doesn’t last a month; it lasts a week.  That comes to $280 a month for annoying things that slide around on my feet, ruin my socks, and don’t do anything to relieve the pain.

Not happening.  I’ll go back to the Solaraze Gel.  It does help, and the $70 tube lasts three months (more or less, depending on how many joints I use it on).

This is my personal opinion.  If you have questions about your own medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


Thank you for all the nice notes.
First computer virus I’ve gotten since 1991.  Hopefully it’s the last.